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Showing posts from January, 2009

Fun Flash Example with Playing Cards

Here's an Adobe Creative Suite 3 ad, displaying the capabilities of Flash using playing cards.

Trim those cells in Excel

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As I was working on a spreadsheet today, I realized that I had several cells with extra spaces at the end. I knew that there was a Trim function in Excel, but I didn't want to go through the hassle of determining the syntax and use, so instead I went to Google. THe third link I followed, I found Ablebits.comTrim Spaces for Microsoft Excel.

Trim Spaces for Microsoft Excel is easy to install and easy to use, and works on many version of Excel. Here are the steps I followed:
DownloadedOpened the zip fileOpened the Readme.txt, which contained instructionsClosed ExcelRan setup.exeClosed the Zip fileOpened my Excel file in ExcelHighlighted the cells to trimClicked the Trim spaces buttonSaved my Excel file
It doesn't get any easier! You can even use a silent installation -- great for IT groups who want to deploy. Ablebits.com Trim Spaces for Microsoft Excel is freeware, "The add-in is free for private and commercial use." That's a bargain, too.

Here's are the supported …

Electronic cigarettes for those that can't kick the habit

As we all know, kicking any habit can be extremely difficult. Now days, it's also difficult to find a public place where you can feed your cigarette habit. With the introduction of the electronic cigarette from Njoy, that no longer is a problem.

As featured at CES, Njoy's electronic cigarette gives you the experience of smoking and the nicotine and flavor you get from smoking, but it is done without burning or the nasty additives.
The non-flammable Njoy Cigarette is powered by a patented microelectronic technology, a tiny rechargeable battery, and a safe refillable cartridge which contains water, propylene glycol, nicotine, and a scent that emulates the flavor of tobacco.Here's what you get in the Njoy starter kit:
1 - Njoy Npro Electronic Cigarette (color optional)5 - Assorted Refill Cartridges (each cartridge equal to approx 1/2 - 3/4 pack of cigarettes)2 - Rechargeable Lithium Batteries1 - Lithium Battery ChargerThe Njoy site advertises the kit for $64.95, but the shop…

Do not update to Picasa 3

I'm very frustrated to report that Google's Picasa version 3 has been nothing but trouble. I am now on Picasa 3.1, this being at least the third version of 3.x. I first noticed with the first version 3 update that a few captions were wrong. I corrected a few, but as I looked closer, many of them were wrong -- the captions and pcitures were no longer correctly associated.

After the next update, I noticed that Picasa was slower, often hanging for a while. This also included causing screen refresh problems with my other applications that were running at the same time.

I just finished allowing another version 3 update, and I notice it seems to be re-building my library -- I now seem to recall it did this with the first version 3 update. I also noticed with pictures that I've added after the prior update also have incorrect captions on some of them -- I hadn't put captions on any of them, yet.

Update 17-Jan-09: I've re-opened Picasa, and now the thumbnails are mixed up too…

Render a site in Internet Explorer every time when using Firefox

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As a Firefox user, there are a few times that I run across a site that requires Internet Explorer (IE). With the right add-ons to Firefox, it's easy to switch the rendering engine with a single click. Of course it would be even easier if the site Firefox recognized sites that require IE, and switch for me. If you use the IE Tab add-on, that is exactly what you can configure it to do. Here's how to do it:
Download and install the IE Tab add-on (like all add-ons, this will require a restart of Firefox)
Go to the site that you want to render each time in IEOpen the IE Tab Options (Tools >> IE Tab Options -- Sites Filter tab)The page you just navigated to should be in the URL box, so you just need to click Add
You can skip step 2 and enter any URL manually into the URL boxClick OKNow every time you go to a site that is listed in the Sites Filter section of IE Tab, it will automatically render in Internet Explorer.
There's one more trick related to this that may be required f…

GMT Converter

Greenwich Mean Time (greenwichmeantime.com) has a nice converter from GMT to your time. They also have a time check, so you can validate your computer's clock. And finally, an application is available that you can run on a Windows or Mac computer to keep your clock on time.
The Greenwich Meridian (Prime Meridian or Longitude Zero degrees) marks the starting point of every time zone in the World. GMT is Greenwich Mean (or Meridian) Time is the mean (average) time that the earth takes to rotate from noon-to-noon.

GMT is World Time and the basis of every world time zone which sets the time of day and is at the centre of the time zone map. GMT sets current time or official time around the globe. Most time changes are measured by GMT. Although GMT has been replaced by atomic time (UTC) it is still widely regarded as the correct time for every international time zone.

View Larger Map
Back to the time converter, one thing required is that you need to know your own GMT offset. For exampl…

Force IIS to Stop without a Reboot

Occasionally I find where IIS is hung, and I hate to have to reboot. Fortunately I found a web page that lists the command and switches you can use from the command line to accomplish the task. This is the same site, psacake.com that notified us of companies that would be closing after Christmas, so avoid getting gift cards from them.

Oracle works with Marvel to have an Iron Man promotion

Oracle Presents Two Worlds is a Flash-based comic trilogy using Iron Man and Marvel Entertainment to show you the features and functions of using an all Oracle solution to run your business. Due to the high-cost, complex systems of Oracle, I'm not sure how well the promotion fit the market, but it is quite entertaining.

As companions to the comic, Oracle has posted articles on how Marvel has benefited from their all Oracle solution. Read Support for Superheroes and Avengers, Assemble! to get all the details. Or, just watch the comic trilogy and enjoy.

The high-tech of days gone past

The Chicago Tribune has a photo montage of high-tech from prior generations. It includes the video phone, an unsuccessful fax machine, and those early luggable portable phones.

1 second color printers for home use

As displayed at CES 2009, we should see color printers capable of printing in 1 second available for the home budget, this year. This is due to innovative technology from Memjet, the OEM sellers of Silverbrook Research ink jet printing innovations. Memjet is actually four companies focusing on four different markets: Memjet Home & Office, Memjet Labels, Memjet Photo Retail, and Memjet Wide Format.

I might note before you read further, you might consider me biased (I don't think so) as my sister, after a long career with HP, works for Memjet Home & Office. Additionally, I spent over 9 years ('96 - '05) in the Tektronix/Xerox Phaser printer organization.

According to the Memjet website:
The technology will be available in products in 2009, starting with a 100mm printhead that will be used for Retail photo printing as well as Label printing devices. An A4/Letter printhead will be available by the first half 2009 with many variations of components and technology improveme…

It's coming, the Apple Wheel

Products that are impossible to use?

Thanks to Digg, I found an interesting website, Cool Material. Specifically, Digg had a link to Ultra-Minimalism: 19 Cool Products That Are Almost Impossible to Use. If you like new and unique ways to design products, this list is for you -- a tank-less toilet, an unrecognizable table, a hidden vacuum cleaner, and 16 others. After that, check the many interesting categories including Tech, Media, and Travel.

You would think that everything would be expensive, but surprisingly some things are actually reasonable priced. For example, the Vroom Tire Tread iPhone Case is only $15 and available through Amazon. Or there's the Laser Parking System for only $25. Many, many surprisingly good values here.

Get iTunes catalog DRM free MP3 from Amazon

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Do you like using the Apple environment of iPod/iPhone and iTunes, but hate that you have to get DRM music? Using Adventageous mp3, you no longer have to. After installing Adventageous mp3, find your Artist or Album in iTunes like you always do, but then instead of purchasing, click on Adventageous mp3 to be directed to the equivalent on Amazon. Here you can make your purchase for the same music without the DRM.

Tech Predictions 2009

By now we've all had a chance to read the many tech predictions for 2009. If not, Wired has a good summary of predictions. This time of year also lends itself to reminding us of all the less insightful tech predictions of years gone past. Checkout this post at PC World for The 7 Worst Tech Predictions of All Time.

My predictions? I may have 2 or 3...
Apple will become less popular. This is driven primarily out of my frustration for the buggy iPhone and AppleTV. Also influencing my thoughts are Rafe Needleman's struggle to get used to his Mac (as posted by him on Twitter).TWiT will lose its spot as the top tech podcast. I love what Leo Laporte has done for podcasting, but the quality of TWiT has really declined over the last 4 to 5 months, while others continue to enter this space. Of course if you read Jason Hiner of Tech Repuplic last February, TWiT already lost to Buzz Out Loud -- my favorite daily tech podcast.One last one... Nateli Del Conte, the video podcaster of CNet'…

Free audio books

Many of us find ourselves in the car or on the bus bored, as we travel to and from work every day. If we're lucky, we've got an audio player and listen to podcasts and/or audio books. If you like audio books though, they can become rather expensive leaving you back to finding an alternative.

This is where podiobooks.com comes in. Using podiobooks.com, you can subscribe to books of your choosing, and have the chapters delivered to you at a specified interval, for free. For example, you might want a new chapter a day; subscribe using your podcatcher and each night when you sync your audio player, the next chapter will download to your device. Downloading at an interval you specified is great for people who have audio players with a small amount of memory -- you don't need to store the files until you're ready to listen to them.

Podiobooks has over 270 titles and is being used by over 50,000 listeners. Categories include: Fantasy, History, Romance, and Thriller, just to nam…